by Greg Wilson

Of the 195 new cars and trucks available in the Canadian marketplace for the 2000 model year, a total of twenty-one are all-new and twenty-six have been significantly redesigned. This year, most of the new models are cars, with a few new sport utility vehicles, pickups and one new mini-van
thrown-in to round out the ‘What’s New’ list.

Some models have been discontinued: Ford and Chrysler have eliminated similar vehicles with different badges: for example the Plymouth Caravan has been discontinued leaving the Dodge Caravan, and the Mercury Sable has disappeared leaving the new, redesigned Ford Taurus.

Here’s a rundown of what’s new or significantly different for cars in the 2000 model year. Where available, 2000 prices have been included. Next week: SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks.



2000 Chrysler PT Cruiser
2000 Chrysler PT Cruiser

2000 Ford Focus
2000 Ford Focus

2000 Toyota Echo
2000 Toyota Echo

2000 Chrysler Neon
2000 Chrysler Neon

2000 Subaru Outback
2000 Subaru Outback

2000 Nissan Maxima
2000 Nissan Maxima

2000 Chevrolet Impala
2000 Chevrolet Impala

2000 Buick LeSabre
2000 Buick LeSabre

2000 Honda S2000
2000 Honda S2000

2000 Audi TT
2000 Audi TT

2000 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
2000 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

2000 Jaguar S-Type
2000 Jaguar S-Type

2000 Infiniti I-30
2000 Infiniti I-30

Tall roofs and roomy interiors are in vogue for 2000. Chrysler’s retro-styled PT Cruiser is a new five-passenger, four cylinder hatchback based on the current Neon platform. Its tall roof and versatile, easily-accessible cargo area provide a surprisingly roomy interior for such a small vehicle. Ford’s compact, European-designed Focus replaces the Escort and Contour, and comes as a hatchback, sedan or station wagon. It also features a tall roof, elevated seating positions, roomy cargo area, and surprisingly good handling. Prices range from $14,895 to $19,695. Toyota’s new Echo replaces the subcompact Tercel, but has considerably more interior and trunk space. The Echo, available as a two-door or four-door sedan, has a tall roof, high seating positions, and a unique instrument cluster in the middle of the dashtop. Weighing less than 1000 kg and with a 108 horsepower 1.5 litre four cylinder engine, the Echo is surprisingly peppy. Echo prices range from $13,835 to $15,175. Even Chrysler’s redesigned 2000 Neon makes some gains in interior room with a longer cabin, a taller roof, and raised seats. It’s priced between $17,995 and $19,905.

An all-new Hyundai Accent also makes its debut this year. Eleven cm longer with a roomier interior and a little more horsepower, the new Accent remains one of Canada’s least expensive and economical small cars. A newcomer last year, the South Korean-built compact Daewoo Nubira has also been redesigned with new exterior and interior styling. An all-new Nissan Sentra subcompact economy car will arrive in the Spring of 2000, but few details are available. Word is that it will be bigger, more fuel-efficient, and more environmentally-friendly than the previous model.

A few compact and mid-sized import sedans have also been redesigned for 2000. The Subaru Legacy and Outback sedans are bigger and more refined than their predecessors, and continue to offer standard all-wheel-drive and a 165 horsepower flat-four cylinder engine. Prices are between $23,595 and $36,295. Nissan’s V6-powered Maxima is all-new for 2000, with a larger body and more interior and trunk space, improved handling, and the most horsepower (222) in its class. Maxima’s range from $28,590 to $34,900. The four cylinder Nissan Altima sedan has also been given a face-lift, and
refined to make it quieter and more comfortable. It’s priced from $19,998 to $28,598. Toyota’s biggest car, the Avalon, is now larger and more luxurious than the previous Avalon with the emphasis on interior room and comfort. It ranges in price from $36,595 to $43,800.

There are also significant changes amongst mid-sized domestic family cars: the Ford Taurus has new, more conservative styling, a roomier interior and a bigger trunk. Taurus prices range from $24,495 to $27,695 . An all-new mid-sized Saturn sedan and wagon, the L-Series, features Saturn’s plastic
body panels and a standard 2.2 litre four cylinder engine or optional 3.0 litre V6. Saturn L-Series models range from $19,255 to $27,810. The Chevrolet Impala, which replaces the Lumina, has a significantly bigger six-passenger interior, a larger trunk, more horsepower and a better ride. Impala prices range from $24,495 to $28,995. General Motors has also redesigned the full-size, front-wheel-drive Pontiac Bonneville, which has a longer wheelbase, wider track, more standard features, and a new optional anti-skid system. Bonneville’s range from $30,740 to $41,995. The popular Buick LeSabre has also undergone design changes to make it more comfortable, roomier and more powerful. LeSabres are priced between $30,465 to $35,725. The two-door Monte Carlo, based on the Impala, is also new for 2000, with more horsepower, more interior room, and an improved ride. It’s priced from $25,895 to $28,595.

The number of sporty cars and sports cars is on the upswing: all-new is the Honda S2000, a two-seater sports car with a traditional front engine/rear-wheel-drive setup and a high-revving 250 horsepower 2.0 litre four cylinder engine. It’s priced at $48,000. The new Audi TT 2+2 hatchback, based on the Golf platform, comes with all-wheel-drive and a turbocharged 1.8 litre engine, and is priced at $49,500. From Toyota, comes a radically-redesigned Celica: Celica GT’s have a 140 horsepower 1.8 litre four cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission while Celica GTS
models have a 180 horsepower engine and a 6-speed manual transmission or a semi-automatic ‘E-shift’ four-speed transmission. Celicas range in price from $23,980 to $32,545, much less than their predecessors. Hyundai’s restyled Tiburon hatchback is still one of the best values in the sporty
coupe market at $18,995 to $23,095.

At the top end of the market, BMW will introduce the Z8 sports car, co-star of the new James Bond movie, later this year. It features a 400 horsepower V8 engine, six-speed manual transmission, aluminum body, and 18 inch tires and alloy wheels – the price is expected to be well over $150,000. And for those who want the ultimate in performance, the new mid-engined, aluminum-bodied Ferrari 360 Modena replaces the F355. Its 395 horsepower 3.6 litre V8 engine propels it from 0 to 60 in just 4.3 seconds. Its estimated price is close to $200,000.

In addition to the standard Porsche Boxster, Porsche is now offering a new Boxster S model with over 250 horsepower and a revised suspension. It starts at $71,110. Jaguar has unveiled the new XKR sports car, an XK8 with the supercharged 370 horsepower V8 motor borrowed from the XJR sport sedan. The XKR will be priced well over $100,000.

Significant new luxury cars now include the redesigned Mercedes-Benz S-Class which is loaded with new technology including ‘Smart Cruise Control’, a GPS Navigation system, adjustable air springs, and a 5-speed automatic transmission with manually-selectable gears. The new S430 and S500 range
from $92,500 to $112,850. Further down the luxury scale, the new Jaguar S-Type draws on Jaguar’s styling heritage combined with modern luxury and technological features, such as a voice-activated stereo and heater controls. V6 S-Types go for $59,950 while V8 S-Types are $69,950. Lincoln’s
new LS sedan, which is based on a similar platform to the S-Type, offers North American luxury with European handling at a more affordable price, ranging from $40,595 to $48,595. Audi’s new S4 sport sedan is based on the A4 sedan, but has a more powerful turbocharged 250 horsepower 2.7 litre V6
engine, 17 inch tires and a stiffer suspension. It’s priced at $56,000. In addition, Audi has expanded the A6 sedan lineup by adding two new engines and more features to the new A6 2.7T and A6 4.2. They’re priced at $57,000 and $70,000 respectively.

Volvo will enter the entry-level luxury car market in August of 2000 with the new S40 sedan and V40 Wagon, both of which have a standard 160 horsepower 1.9 litre four cylinder engine and extensive safety features that Volvo is well-known for. Prices have not yet been established. Infiniti’s
redesigned I30 sedan is based on the new Nissan Maxima, but offers more luxury and refinement for a price between $39,700 and $41,500. After introducing an all-new 3-Series sedan last year, BMW has introduced the new 323Ci and 328Ci Coupes, both using similar powertrains, but with sportier, more streamlined styling. 323Ci’s start at $38,900 and 328Ci’s start at $46,900. And speaking of coupes, Acura will introduce an all-new CL Coupe this Winter with an as yet undisclosed price.

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